With the return to in-class instruction just a couple of weeks away, School District No. 57 (SD57) Superintendent Anita Richardson sat down to answer an elementary school student’s questions in a new video.
In the video, Grade Two Lac de Bois student Isaiah says he was pretty confident about the new school year, is excited to see his friends and have a new teacher.
When asked about COVID-19 changes this year signs, masks, and frequent hand washing Isaiah says he feels really good about that, “because then we can stay healthy and stay safe.”
B.C.’s return to school plan will see students divided into “learning groups” that primarily only interact with each other throughout the year.
For elementary schools, this includes a maximum of 60 people and up to 120 for secondary schools
SD57 is expected to release more information about the completed Stage Two return-to-school plan tomorrow (Aug. 26).
However, the Prince George district has already released a letter to parents outlining the Ministry of Education’s plans for a gradual restart.
In the letter Richardson explains, starting Sept. 8, staff will meet with the joint health and safety committees of their respective schools to receive instructions about how the guidelines will work in their school.
This will allow time for staff to adjust to their new routines, finalize plans for learning groups, review health and safety protocols and confirm lesson plans that alight with the new normal in schools.
Schools will begin welcoming back students for orientation Sept. 10 and will provide every family with the specific information about when their children will be welcomed.
The district’s current timeline aims to see all students attending school full-time in their learning groups by Sept. 14.
Richardson says during the gradual orientation students will have the opportunity to get familiar with the new look of their classrooms, find out who is in their learning group, practice their new routines and familiarize themselves with how to safely be part of their new school environment.
Despite criticism and concern over the province's plans some from parents and teachers, in her letter Richardson says, "the new guidelines inspires our confidence that this modified return to in-class instruction is a very safe way to proceed and indeed, is the right choice for students, particularly those who require additional supports."
On Aug. 17, the B.C. Ministry of Education announced that masks and face coverings will be required for teachers and staff in all public schools across the province during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as middle and secondary students, in high-traffic areas like buses, common areas such as hallways, or anytime outside of their learning cohort and physical distancing is hard to maintain.
The district says it will have non-medical masks available for all students and staff where the person is interacting outside of their cohort or learning group and cannot maintain physical distance for an extended period of time.
SD57 has also published a frequently asked questions document that provides further information for parents and students.